The teaching and learning of history does not always have to be through school textbooks and books. There are several other supplemental (alternative?) ways to explore the depths of historical knowledge. History podcasts are especially relevant in this regard.
There are numerous history podcasts online that are not only educational and insightful but are also entertaining and fun to listen to. Below is a list of some of the best history podcasts for both educators and learners, offering a fun and engaging way to understand the past.
From analyzing the life of Alexander the Great to exploring the long legacy of slavery in America, each of these 12 podcasts gives insight into different historical periods, people and events, and looks at history from a critical perspective.
History teaching is not (only) about helping students learn and memorize historical facts and events. It is more about enabling students to develop analytical tools that can help them critically assess and gauge knowledge they learn, consider alternative historical interpretations of events, ask profound questions about potential silences in historical narratives, and, ultimately, become better readers of history.
These 12 history podcasts will help you raise your students awareness to the importance of looking at history from different perspectives and using different lenses. From Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast to The Past and The Curious, these podcasts are sure to make history learning much more engaging.
1. Stuff You Missed in History Class
This is my favourite in this list. Stuff You Missed in History Class is hosted by Holly and Tracy on iHeartRadio. In this podcast, the hosts explore some of the most fascinating yet lesser-known stories from history.
2. The Memory Palace
The Memory Palace, hosted by public radio producer Nate DiMeo, is one of iTunes’ Best Podcasts of 2015 and a finalist for the 2016 Peabody Award. This podcast offers short stories from the past, exploring both heartbreaking and humorous moments.
3. A History of the World in 100 Objects
A History of the World in 100 Objects is a podcast narrated by Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum. This podcast tells the story of humanity’s history through objects created by humans throughout time. It covers a wide variety of eras, including prehistoric times and more recent periods, exploring how we have used items to express our culture and creativity.
4. Revolutions by Mike Duncan
Revolutions by Mike Duncan is a weekly podcast exploring the great political revolutions of history. It is hosted and narrated by Mike Duncan, creator of the popular History of Rome podcast. In each episode, Duncan examines one particular revolution, from its origins to its eventual outcome. He also talks about the social and political context in which these revolutions arose.
If you want to learn about the U.S. presidents throughout history, The Washington Post’ s Presidential podcast is ideal. It offers a series that takes a dive into the lives and actions of each American president.
6. Revisionist History
Revisionist History is a podcast created and hosted by Malcolm Gladwell. In each episode, Gladwell takes a look at the past and re-examines events, people, ideas, and songs that may have been overlooked or misunderstood by society.
7. Dan Carlin Hardcord History
This is definitely another great history podcast that uses critical perspectives to explore history. In Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast, the journalist and broadcaster utilizes poses questions such as “Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler?”, while comparing different eras of history. His narrative style is high drama and masterful storytelling, making it an entertaining podcast for listeners.
BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. It covers various topics relating to American history in an engaging and entertaining way. The podcast encourages listeners to look at history from a different perspective , and to ask questions about the past.
9. Teaching Hard History
Teaching Hard History is a history podcast hosted by Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries and Dr. Bethany Jay, exploring the long legacy of slavery in the United States, its impact through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the civil rights movement, to the present day.
10. History Teachers Talking
History Teachers Talking is a podcast hosted by Thomas Reszka and Peter Zablocki that covers a wide range of topics related to history, pop culture, politics, and education. The hosts discuss these topics in an entertaining yet informative way, making the conversation light-hearted and easy to follow.
11.The Past and The Curious: A History Podcast for Kids and Families
The Past and The Curious is a podcast dedicated to providing kids and their families with an entertaining way to learn about history. Hosted by professionals, the podcast covers a variety of topics related to history, such as spies, funny foods, George Washington’s foibles, early advancements in cartooning and ballooning and much more.
12. Past Times – Talking and Teaching History
Past Times – Talking and Teaching History is a podcast series created by EuroClio, designed to discuss topics related to the teaching of history. The podcast covers various themes and topics including gender and sexuality in history teaching, contested histories, teaching democracy, the powers of historical knowledge, history and digital media literacy, and many more.